World Environment Day, 5th June 2013, would remain memorable for the people of Tapkan village as it marked the launch of the new facilities in Tapkan Government Primary School (Tapkan, GPS) and Tapkan Government Middle School (Tapkan, GMS). The renovation and revitalization works are part of the second season of Support My School campaign jointly implemented by SRF Foundation, NDTV, Coca Cola India/Enrich Agro Food Products Pvt. Ltd., Tetra Pak India, SunEdison, the Department of Elementary Education, Government of Haryana and Mewat Development Authority. By providing basic amenities and infrastructure to schools that lack them, the campaign aims to create a cleaner, healthier environment that is more conducive to learning. Under SRFF’s flagship programme ‘Mewat Rural Education Programme’ (MREP), the Support My School campaign has been initiated in the Rewasan, Rehna and Tapkan village school complexes covering 8 schools in Mewat District.
Before renovation under the Support My School campaign, Tapkan GPS and GMS lacked many basic amenities and infrastructure. Lessons during summer were close to unbearable with the heat from the scorching sun. Students would easily fall ill after drinking the unclean water of the school. Male and female students had to share common toilets without proper sanitation. Classrooms had broken tables, chairs and cracked ceilings. These not only created an environment unfavourable to learning, but also contributed to absenteeism.After the work of the Support My School campaign, the new functional amenities in Tapkan GPS and GMS include separate toilets for male and female students, a water pump and wash area providing access to clean water, a new library with books and posters to encourage reading, new micro-grid solar panels that provide a more steady flow of electricity and play facilities such as badminton, football and volleyball courts and swings for the younger students.
Tapkan GPS and GMS was bustling with activity with some 400 government officials, partners, teachers, students and villagers. Amongst the guests were partner organisation representatives Mrs. Surina Rajan, Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary, Education; Mr. Vinay Singh Yadav, Deputy Commissioner, Mewat; Mr. Rajeev Arora, District Education Officer; Mr. Venkatesh Kini, Senior Vice President, Coca Cola India; Mr. Pat Cassidy, US Embassy Representative; Mr. Pravin Malik, Environment Manager, Tetra Pak; Mr. Varinderpal Kandhari, Executive Director, Enrich Agro Food Products Pvt. Ltd.; Dr. Suresh Reddy, Director, SRF Foundation and Mr. Manik Jolly, Director, Solar Solutions Rural, SunEdison who were present to grace the ceremony.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the smiling faces of the students who were very pleased with their newly renovated school. The joyful students of Tapkan GPS and GMS welcomed our partners and guests with garlands as they arrived. The introduction of the partners and the Support My School campaign initiative was done in the newly renovated library. In the library, Mrs. Surina Rajan, Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary of Education was shown a map of the new school designed by a student in appreciation of the efforts by the partners.
This was followed by a tour around the new school given by student representatives of Tapkan GPS and GMS. During the tour, students interacted with our partners and shared about the problems the school used to face before the Support My School campaign. This tour also gave our students the opportunity to personally thank our partners for their generosity.
The final stop of the tour was the newly built badminton court. To encourage our students to engage in the newly introduced sports activities, Mrs. Surina Rajan, Mr. Vinay Singh Yadav and Mr. Venkatesh Kini played a friendly match with the students of Tapkan GPS and GMS, drawing an excited crowd who gathered around to watch the match. After the badminton match, the Support My School campaign was re-introduced to all the teachers, students and villagers present. Our dignitaries were invited onto the stage and presented with a bouquet of flowers, the annual report of SRF Foundation and the latest edition of our Hindi newsletter, Parvaaz.
After a welcome song by two female students of Getti, Nuh, each of the distinguished dignitaries shared a few words on the initiative. Dr. Suresh Reddy, Director of SRF Foundation expressed his happiness in seeing the outcome of the Support My School campaign, hoping to replicate it in all the 47 schools in 19 villages the Foundation is working with over the next year. All our speakers expressed their sincerest thanks for the attendance and spoke about the impact of the Support My School campaign for Tapkan village.
Mrs. Rajan emphasised the importance of maintaining the facilities in the school. She articulated her intention of donating musical instruments and offered assistance for the revamping of the open space outside the new library. Mrs. Rajan also announced the good news that the Tapkan Government Middle School will be offering classes till 12th standard (previously till 8th standard). She is also confident that the school will look even better in time to come. In between the speeches, two students sang a popular Nazm in the Urdu language to express their appreciation to all the dignitaries and guests present.
The ceremony came to a close with the unveiling of banners dedicating the new facilities to the children of Tapkan GPS and GMS and announcing Tapkan GPS and GMS to be India’s first Solar Microgrid powered school.
This revitalisation was carried out according to schedule thanks to the close and strong relationship among all the partners of this programme. We would like to congratulate all partners in the noble cause of improving the provision of education in Mewat district and providing the villages with a model school to emulate.